For building products brands hunting more market share, contractors are more important than ever.

They’re also more elusive.

Empowered by technology and hyper-connected, today’s contractors are a whole new breed of smart. With different expectations and lots more options.

But with more options, come more distractions—which means brands and distributors alike are fighting for contractor attention and mindshare.

So how do brands win with contractors? How do you connect and engage with this highly influential, super busy audience that puts “building a relationship with brands” last on the to-do list?

The answer in two words: content marketing.

What is Content Marketing?
According to Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Market Institute, “content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.

Content can be leveraged at all points of contact (in-person, in print, and online via website, social and mobile channels), and at all stages of the contractor journey to accomplish a variety of marketing goals: for instance, create attention, increase sales or build loyalty.

Content marketing changes the sell from “about me” to “about you”—from product-centric to information-centric—from “close the sale” to “close the loop,” driving contractors back to an online source for data tracking and measuring that can then be used to better understand specific contractor needs.

What Content to Use Where and When
Content can take any form—blog, article, whitepaper, event, infographic, video and more—but it must match the contractor’s information needs at each step of his journey to engagement and purchase.

  • Stage One: Awareness
    The contractor wants:
    • Education and information so he can make an informed decision later on

    Brands must:

    • Be friendly and authoritative experts with advice and knowledge to share

    Appropriate content:

    • Blog posts
    • An original whitepaper showcasing the brand’s viewpoint and understanding
    • On-demand webinars that can be attended in the evenings
    • An event—like a lunch and learn at a distributorship
    • Participation in a relevant LinkedIn group to share topic insights
    • Social media posts that encourage contractor sharing of questions or concerns regarding what he’s thinking about
  • Stage Two: Consideration
    The contractor wants:
    • More in-depth information so he can understand all the approaches and methods available to solve his problem or realize his opportunity

    Brands must:

    • Establish trust and credibility

    Appropriate content:

    • Case studies
    • Third-party testimonials
    • Ads that link to targeted website content: case studies, testimonials, whitepapers specific to product to service solutions
    • Videos or infographics comparing and contrasting various solutions
    • Social media posts that offer alternate solutions or approaches
  • Stage Three: Decision
    The contractor wants:
    • To know how to best execute his decision

    Brands must:

    • Supply the chosen solution, strategy, method or approach

    Appropriate content:

    • Specification and technical data sheets
    • Bylined articles detailing competitive advantage of specific brand products and solutions
    • Installation videos
    • Online training

Building a contractor engagement strategy is key to the ongoing success of building products manufacturers. Brands that use content—especially digital content—targeted to specific contractor concerns at every step of the buyer’s journey will position themselves as knowledge partners, building long-term loyalty and relationships that will result in increased sales.